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Updates from Seattle

Healthentic Finds Up to 18 Percent of Emergency Visits Are Avoidable

SEATTLE, August 20, 2014—Healthentic, an analytics company focused on easily measuring population health, released its analysis of potentially avoidable emergency room visits today. Utilizing data from 31 different companies, Healthentic found the rate of avoidable ER visits varied from as low as 2 percent to as high as 18 percent. Avoidable ER visits for non-emergency conditions, such as headaches, cost the businesses more than $1.3 million last year, representing 8 percent of their total ER costs. If the same rate of avoidable ER visits and costs held up nationally, that would equal approximately $3.8 billion annually.

“Employers have no idea how much of their ER spending is avoidable or how much they could be saving themselves and their employees,” said Sean Gallivan, Chief Operating Officer of Healthentic. “If employers are going to get a handle on health care costs and do a better job controlling expenses, they have to start managing strategically; they need stronger data.”

Healthentic’s full analysis includes the nine most common non-emergency conditions, the overall rate of potentially avoidable ER visits, and recommendations for organizations on how to address out-of-control health care spending. This report shows employers need to monitor health care habits of employees to ensure available services are used correctly so organizations and employees spend efficiently.

Key Data Findings

  • Overall, 10 percent of the emergency room visits in the Healthentic database were for conditions or ailments that could have been successfully treated and addressed in an outpatient setting other than an emergency room. The range for avoidable ER visits went from a low of 2 percent to a high of 18 percent. This range could be due to several factors including differences in health benefit plan design and access to or awareness of ER alternatives.
  • The top reasons for potentially avoidable ER visits are: headache, back pain, urinary tract infection, sore throat, acute upper respiratory infections, ear ache, acute bronchitis, pink eye, and sciatica.
  • Employees who go to the ER versus other outpatient clinics could be costing their employers up 5 times as much for treating some conditions.

To see the full ER analysis, visit:

About Healthentic

Healthentic, an innovative analytics platform, is the easiest way to measure population health. Healthentic’s Population Health Dashboard (PhD) gives businesses critical insights using the power of whole health informatics to make changes to their plans and programs in order to lower costs while improving overall employee health and productivity. Healthentic works with more than 10,800 enterprises, and covers more than 38.7 million lives. To learn more, visit